SMC honors events of 9/11
By Maj. Hamilton Underwood, Space and Missile Systems Center
/ Published September 11, 2015
LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, El Segundo, Calif. -- The city of Hawthorne held a ceremony today, commemorating the events of 14 years ago when the peaceful, clear blue skies of New York City, and a sunny morning in Washington, D.C. and rural Pennsylvania were plunged into darkness, shattered by acts of terror.
Hosted by Mayor Chris Brown at Hawthorne City Hall, the 9/11 event was attended by many first responders and community leaders including Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves, commander of the Space and Missile Systems Center and Air Force Program Executive Officer for Space. Col. Donna Turner, commander of the 61st Air Base Group at Los Angeles AFB was also in attendance.
"As the Secretary of Defense Ash Carter stated in his remarks earlier today at the Pentagon about those families who lost loved ones, 'We will never forget -- though try as we may, we can never really know how you feel on this solemn day'," said Greaves. "This anniversary is a poignant reminder of the real dangers our country still faces, but it's also an opportunity for all of us to remember those we've lost and to strengthen our resolve to keep our country safe."
"9/11 ceremonies provide an opportunity for service members to pause and reflect on why we wear the uniform," Turner said. "It's a particular honor to be invited to the city of Hawthorne's 9/11 memorial ceremony because with the first responders and the public present it's a reminder that we're all here for each other as one team."
Turner related where she was on that tragic day and the helplessness she felt as the events unfolded.
"I was stationed in Germany on 9/11 as the deputy chief of command protocol with Headquarters United States Air Forces in Europe at Ramstein Air Base," said Turner. "I remember watching the news as the planes struck the twin towers and the Pentagon, and wanting to be able to help -- and frustrated we were so far away from home and couldn't assist."
"We are here to remember those we lost on that fateful day, September 11, 2001 -- a day those future generations not yet born will hear stories of courage and sacrifice. Of co-workers who helped strangers down the stairs to safety. Of firefighters and first responders who braved the flaming towers to rescue those still trapped inside," said Greaves.
"In the face of terror, we bound ourselves in hope and compatriots among one another to find strength and courage--a trait found in all of us, as Americans. On behalf of the men and women of Space and Missile Systems Center, it is an honor to be here and join you as we immortalize the memories of the loved ones we lost," Greaves shared.
Greaves pointed out the act of terror claimed the lives of nearly 3,000 innocent lives, including 184 Americans at the Pentagon, making it the deadliest act of terror in the nation's history. Since then, American families have endured multiple deployments of men and women in uniform who stepped forward to defend freedom over 14 long years of global war against terror.
"Since then, the physical damages have been repaired; memorials were erected to honor the victims of the attack. But time has not lessened the solemn memories of our loved ones who lost their lives to the tragic 9/11 event," stated Greaves.
"When this day is done and as we move on with our lives and tend to our children, we will always remember that our spirit is strong, our resolve is unwavering, and our liberty still stands," said Greaves.